Thursday, March 19, 2009

Master Will Be Appointed To Help Dems Sort Out File Issue

The Times Leasder is running an Associated Press Report indicating that the judge presiding over the fight concerning legal files and the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus will appoint a master to act more like an judge than a mediator to deteremine ownership of legal files regarding Bonusgate.

Dauphin County Judge Lawrence F. Clark Jr. said Wednesday that the parties had agreed to have retired Judge G. Thomas Miller act as a special master in the case. Clark’s office said an order appointing Miller and spelling out his duties and powers was expected to be issued later in the week.

At issue is control over the files that lawyer Bill Chadwick and his Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, Chadwick Associates Inc., generated while helping the House Democratic caucus respond to the state attorney general’s investigation into allegations of legislative corruption.

Chadwick has refused to turn over the files, citing an assertion of lawyer-client privilege made by Rep. Bill DeWeese, who hired him while serving as the Democrats’ floor leader during the last legislative session. Chadwick declined comment Wednesday.

Marcy said Miller’s role will be more like a judge than a mediator. He said the time frame for resolving ownership and possession of the files was unclear but hoped it would be short.

Marcy said the caucus and Chadwick also have agreed to let DeWeese, now the Democratic whip, intervene in the case.

DeWeese spokesman Tom Andrews said DeWeese “has not signed anything yet” and was “anxious for this issue to be quietly mediated.”

Clark urged the two sides at a hearing last week to bring in Miller, telling them they “don’t need to be putting your family laundry on the line.”

It has not been publicly disclosed what the files contain, although Chadwick described their size generally during the court proceeding.

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